The New Farm: Indoor Agricultural Technology

Joseph Priestley Society
Thursday, September 9, 2021
1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. EDT (UTC -4)

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Science History Institute

Agriculture moves indoors! Join us to learn about Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), indoor farming operations at scale, from genetics to post harvest, to the complexity and intensity of the technology used to produce hundreds of different delicious and nutritious crops in controlled environments.

Indoor farming gives consumers year-round access to hyper-local fresh produce with enhanced flavor and nutrition. In addition, many of the safety risk factors associated with field-grown produce are eliminated. Indoor farming has a number of environmental benefits, including better energy and water efficiency, reduced waste from spoilage during storage and transportation, enhanced productivity in a smaller footprint, and reduced GHG emissions.

Our distinguished panelists will discuss the science and technology of large-scale indoor farming with a special focus on agricultural technology’s viability and impact:

  • How economically viable are indoor farming agricultural business operations?
  • What sort of partnerships are needed to improve the technology?
  • What are the prospects for this type of agriculture for different crop types, and how could it impact society in the future?
     

Moderator

Anabelle Morales Droz

Headshot of Anabelle Morales Droz

Anabelle Morales Droz

Anabelle Morales Droz
President and Chief Science Officer, Fusion Farms (Puerto Rico)

Anabelle Morales Droz is an internationally renowned pathogenic food microbiologist, food/nutrition research scientist, biochemist, and food safety expert with over 35 years of experience working in government, private industry, and academia. In her current role at Fusion Farms, a hurricane-protected indoor vertical aquaponic farm, Morales Droz is leading the path to creating food security and food sovereignty for Puerto Rico. Fusion Farms builds and manages modern farming solutions using sustainable, controlled aquaponic environments for communities that face environmental, climatic, and economic challenges.

Morales Droz earned a BS in interdisciplinary life sciences/biology, an MS in microbiology/pathogenic food microbiology, and a PhD in biology/pathogenic food microbiology, all from the University of South Florida. She is the first research scientist to have examined the survival of potentially pathogenic human-associated bacteria in the rhizosphere of hydroponically grown plants for life support in long duration space missions, fully funded by NASA. She also holds the distinction of being the first Hispanic woman to earn a PhD in microbiology from the University of South Florida.

 

Panelists

Jessica Fong

Headshot of Jessica Fong in front of potted herbs

Jessica Fong

Jessica Fong
CEO and Founder, Common Farms (Hong Kong)

Jessica’s connection to food started when she established a successful food and beverage group (The Caprioli Management: Giando, Gia Trattoria, Mercato Gourmet) in Hong Kong. During one of her many sourcing trips to Italy, she realized the importance of making high quality, nutritious, and freshly grown foods more accessible to the Hong Kong community. Her extensive experience in the food and beverage and manufacturing industry gave her insight into dire problems of food quality, food waste, and the inefficiencies and shortcomings of the supply chain that drives the global food system. With this perspective, she founded Common Farms in 2017 with the vision of reconnecting and redefining Hong Kong’s relationship with food and the way it’s produced, distributed, and consumed.

 

Omar Al Jundi

Headshot of Omar Al Jundi

Omar Al Jundi

Omar Al Jundi
Founder and CEO, Badia Farms (Dubai)

Omar Al Jundi is the founder and chief executive officer of Badia Farms, a pioneering and revolutionizing agricultural initiative to provide a sustainable solution for the region’s future. A Saudi national and qualified industrial engineer, Omar began his career in the financial and engineering industries in Saudi Arabia before following his entrepreneurial passion. This led to a successful business in hospitality, and recognition in the 2007 book Leaders of Saudi Arabia.

Strongly committed to the region, its development and sustainable future, Omar became focused on agricultural innovations. Studying a variety of methods and techniques around the world, he moved to the UAE to establish Badia Farms. Omar holds a BSc in industrial engineering and MBA from the University of Miami.

 

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Stacy Kimmel

Stacy Kimmel

Stacy Kimmel
Vice President, R&D, AeroFarms (Newark, NJ)

As vice president of R&D at AeroFarms, Stacy Kimmel provides scientific direction and leadership to AeroFarms global R&D organization. Reporting directly to the CEO, she is responsible for developing and leading the execution of short-, mid- and long-term R&D strategies which support delivery of the AeroFarms global corporate strategy. Dr Kimmel has a PhD in food science and 23 years of experience in the food industry with Fortune 500 companies including The Campbell’s Soup Company and McCormick and Co. Inc. She has extensive experience in new product innovation and commercialization for large iconic brands, strategic planning and technology discovery and implementation.
 

 

Kendell Lang

Headshot of Kendell Lang

Kendell Lang

Kendell Lang
CEO, Fusion Farms (Puerto Rico)

Kendell Lang is the cofounder and chief executive officer of Fusion Farms, an innovative hurricane-protected indoor vertical farm solution for the re-utilization of vacant Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO) buildings in Puerto Rico. Fusion Farms has been in the formulation stages for decades, starting from Lang’s bachelor’s degree in biology for which he completed his senior thesis on aquaculture. That early exposure to technology innovation applied to nature has kept alive the vision and passion which today has culminated in Fusion Farms.

 

 

About the Series

The Joseph Priestley Society (JPS) promotes a deeper understanding of science, technology, and industry, with an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship. Speakers are leaders from a wide variety of large and small chemical companies and the financial, consulting, and academic communities.
 

For more information about this event, please contact jps@sciencehistory.org.